If Seltos thought it could sneak under the Sportage into Kia’s sports utility vehicle line-up, it needs to think again. Replete with cutting-edge technology in an unmistakable edgy skin, plus practical safety features and space, it’s hard to ignore the new Kia compact SUV.

Australia has not had to wait long for the Seltos being the third market after South Korea and India to welcome the wagon.

“There has been a space in our product line-up for this car for longer than we would have ideally liked,” says Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer Damien Meredith.

“However, despite being a little late to the party we are confident that the Seltos is the right car for the market and has the potential to be the belle of the ball.

“The Seltos Is not only stylish but brings practical, useable size, along with technology, safety and value in a segment-leading package which also benefits from Kia’s industry-best seven-year warranty, capped price servicing and roadside assistance,” he added.

The compact SUV weighs in with four variants Down Under – S, Sport Sport+ and GT-Line – in front or all-wheel drive, powered by one of two petrol engines. The S, Sport and Sport+ with front-wheel drive take on a four-cylinder 2-litre multi-point fuel injected Atkinson cycle engine producing 110 kW and 180 Nm mated with the latest generation constantly variable transmission.

Kia Seltos Sport+ and GT-Line all-wheel drives have the 1.6T-GDI turbo-petrol producing 130 kW and 265 Nm. It’s coupled to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.


Prices start at $25,490, plus on road costs, for the Seltos 2.0 S CVT front-wheel drive and culminate in the Seltos 1.6 GT-Line automatic all-wheel drive at $40,900. The latter was the test vehicle.

Seltos’‘tiger nose grille’ fronts a longish bonnet and leads to a strong, character line on the front bumper as well as sharp lines pressed into the bodywork.

The LED headlamps sit above distinctive 3-D multi-layer indicators. The GT-Line features LED foglights, echoed by red LED lamps at the rear, where the bumper, with its metallic muffler finish and 18-inch alloy wheels complete the edgy dynamics.

Aerodynamics (Cd 0.33) are aided by a tailgate spoiler, an optimised lower bumper lip, wheel deflectors and smooth under-floor panels.

A wheelbase of 2630 mm and wheels close to the corners of the body, plus 1615 mm overall height, give the Seltos useful space in the cabin and boot.

There’s a stack of storage space with cupholders and a bottle holder in the doors and centre console, as well as a storage tray at the base of the dashboard.

Vents in the console rear allow for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning. There’s a USB charger for rear occupants’ mobile devices and a small tray to hold them.


The rear seat back can recline a class-leading 26 to 32 degrees, ensuring rear occupants can find their most comfortable seating position. With a temporary spare, the rear cargo area provides 498 litres of space.

As befits the Seltos top of the line, Kia’s new 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, can be split to let users monitor and control numerous vehicle features at the same time and customise the screen to display up to three separate applications simultaneously.

There is access to Apple CarPlay, or Android Auto and a powerful eight-speaker Bose Premium Audio system normally found in larger luxury cars.

Two new features include an 8-inch head-up display projecting driving info such as speed and navigation directions on to a glass panel behind the steering wheel.

A 7-inch high definition digital instrument cluster complementing the conventional speedometer and tachometer dials. A wireless smartphone charger can be found at the base of the dash.

The GT-Line has a1.6-litre T-GDi turbo engine putting out 130 kW of power and 265 Nm torque, paired with a seven-speed double-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive system. Acceleration from zero to 100 km/h is a claimed 8 seconds.

The Seltos GT-Line has the full safety package of full autonomous emergency braking, Driver Attention Alert+, advanced smart cruise control, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist, reversing camera with dynamic guidelines, rear parking sensors and six airbags.

A Drive Mode Select system lets drivers adapt the car to a preferred style or the road conditions. Eco mode is tuned to maximise distance to empty using fuel-saving measures, ‘Sport’ increases turn-in steering response and electric motor to sharpen the driving feel of the car, while ‘Normal’ is the Goldilocks mode.

Bespoke tuning by Kia’s Australian engineers over thousands of kilometres at Korean test facilities and on Australian roads ensures well-mannered ride and handling.

The small turbo motor lets out a muted growl as the revs build; not normally found in such circumstances.

Fuel consumption is par for the product, the test vehicle coming up with 8.5 litres per 100 kilometres in the suburbs and 5.2 litres per 100 kilometres on the motorway.

Lane keep assist gently advises the inattentive driver of the vehicle wandering; autonomous emergency braking comes in with full force. When a car cut in on our test vehicle, AEB intervened with hard and fast action, which almost appeared to be punishment for what it misinterpreted as the driver’s lack of response.

Kia says the Seltos is aimed at the youthful tech-savvy buyer (with deepish pockets), so for those keen to find out more about the car, in an automotive world first, Google Assistant has answers. Good luck.


Kia Seltos 2.0 S CVT FWD $25,490
Kia Seltos 2.0 Sport CVT FWD $28,490
Kia Seltos 2.0 Sport + CVT FWD $31,990
Kia Seltos 1.6 Sport + auto AWD $35,490
Kia Seltos 1.6 GT-Line auto AWD $40,900
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Kia dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Kia Seltos GT-Line 1.6-litre T-GDi 4-cylinder petrol, 7sp dual clutch auto transmission SUV)

Capacity: 1.591 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders inline
Maximum Power: 130 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 265 Nm @ 1500-4500 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 7.6 L/100km
Emissions: 175g / km

DRIVELINE: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic

Length: 4370 mm
Wheelbase: 2630 mm
Width: 1800 mm
Height: 1615 mm
Turning Circle: 10.6 metres
Tare weight: 1470 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 50 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Seven years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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